ExxonMobil presents fracking pilot scheme in Colombia
BOGOTÁ, March 18, 2021 – Colombia’s National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH) received on Wednesday ExxonMobil’s proposal for a pilot unconventional project in the Valle Medio del Magdalena Basin.
ExxonMobil is seeking approval for the Platero Integral Investigation Pilot Project (PPII), the second PPII after Colombian NOC Ecopetrol presented the Kalé project in the same basin. The ANH has until March 29 to evaluate and qualify the proposal.
“Colombia continues showcasing the possibilities for extracting gas and oil from unconventional fields with the proposal received from ExxonMobil, who has great experience in this type of project,” ANH president Armando Zamora Reyes said in a press release.
Minister of Mines and Energy Diego Mesa added in the same press release that “the Integral Investigation Pilot Projects will allow us to make a decision based on science and research on the future of the hydraulic fracking with the horizontal drilling technique in Colombia. The experience of companies like ExxonMobil and Ecopetrol will be deployed in projects with the highest technical standards, with an open and inclusive dialogue with the communities and the guarantee of the protection of the environment.”
The development of unconventional resources is seen by the Colombian government as a key step for the energy security of the country. However, local communities, who have strong vetting powers on oil and gas projects, have been resistant to the introduction of fracking techniques in Colombia due to fears of the environmental impact on water resources and biodiversity.
For the moment, the commercial development of unconventional energy deposits such as shale gas/oil and coal bed methane is not allowed. Fracking pilot projects are expected to collect considerable scientific data so that all stakeholders can take a better decision on the future of unconventionals in the country.
Ecopetrol’s Kalé PPII in Puerto Wilches has already conducted more than 320 meetings with local communities and stakeholders in order to explain the project and to measure water and air quality. Ecopetrol is currently conducting an environmental impact assessment for the Kalé project, a necessary step before requesting the environmental licence.
ExxonMobil was the only company to present a project during the second round of the PPII presentation process, even though Drummond, Ecopetrol and Tecpetrol were also allowed to participate in the round.